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Such place hath Deptford, navy-building town,
up the silver Thames, or all adown; Ne Richmond's self, from whose tall front are ey'd Vales, spires, meand'ring streams, and Windsor's
POPE has imitated Waller with elegance, especially in the verses on a Fan of his own design; for he designed with dexterity and taste.
The application of the story of Cephalus and Procris is as ingenious as Waller's Phoebus and Daphne. Waller abounds, perhaps to excess, in allusions to mythology and the ancient classics. The French, as may be imagined, complain that he is too learned for the ladies. The following twelve lines contain three allusions, delicate indeed; but some may deem them to be too far-fetched, too much crowded, and not obvious to the lady to whom they were addressed, on her singing a song of his composing:
"Chloris, yourself you so excel,
When you vouchsafe to breathe my thought,
Of my own teaching I am caught.
But of his voice, the boy had burn'd."
Here is matter enough compressed together for Voiture to have spun out into fifty lines. If I was to name my favourite among Waller's smaller pieces, it should be his Apology for having loved before. He begins by saying, "That they who never had been used to the surprising juice of the grape, render up their reason to the first delicious cup." This is sufficiently gal
lant; but what he adds has much of the sublime, and is like a thought of Milton's:
Which of the French writers has produced any thing at once so gallant and so lofty?
The English versification was much smoothed by Waller; who used to own, that he derived the harmony of his numbers from Fairfax's Tasso, who well-vowelled his lines, though Sandys was a melodious versifier, and Spenser has perhaps more variety of music than either of them. A poet who addresses his pieces to living characters, and confines himself to the subjects and anecdotes of his own times, like this courtly author, bids fairer to become popular, than he that is employed in higher scenes of poetry and fiction, which are more remote from common manners. It may be remarked lastly of Waller, that there is no passion in his love-verses; and that one elegy of Tibullus, so well imitated by Hammond, and so unjustly censured by Johnson, excels a volume of the most refined panegyric. It is remarkable that Waller never mentions Milton, whose Comus, and smaller poems, preceded his own; but were unsuitable to the French taste, on which Waller was formed.
ON A LADY SINGING TO HER LUTE.
FAIR Charmer, cease, nor make your voice's prize A heart resign'd the conquest of your eyes: Well might, alas! that threat'ned vessel fail, Which winds and lightning both at once assail. We were too blest with these enchanting lays, Which must be heav'nly when an Angel plays: But killing charms your lover's death contrive, Lest heav'nly music should be heard alive. Orpheus could charm the trees: but thus a tree, Taught by your hand, can charm no less than he : A poet made the silent wood pursue,
This vocal wood had drawn the Poet too.
On a FAN of the Author's design, in which was painted the story of CEPHALUS and PROCRIS, with the Motto, AURA VENI.
COME, gentle Air! th' Æolian shepherd said, While Procris panted in the secret shade; Come, gentle Air! the fairer Delia cries, While at her feet her swain expiring lies. Lo the glad gales o'er all her beauties stray, Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play! In Delia's hand this toy is fatal found, Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound: Both gifts destructive to the givers prove; Alike both lovers fall by those they love. Yet guiltless too this bright destroyer lives, At Random wounds, nor knows the wound she gives: She views the story with attentive eyes, And pities Procris, while her lover dies.
In the following love-verses is a strain of sensibility which the reader will be pleased, I suppose, to see, being now first published from a manuscript of Mr. Gray:
"With beauty, with pleasure, surrounded, to languish,
Words that steal from my tongue by no meaning connected ;